Wednesday, August 22, 2007

A non-believer - say it isn't so

"In most industrial societies, the level of religiosity declines as the society becomes wealthier and more sophisticated, according to John Green, a senior fellow at the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, which regularly surveys attitudes towards religion in the US.
Yet the US remains a highly religious place. Not the most religious place on the planet, but certainly more religious than Europe and Australia.
Green puts that down to America's historical roots. "Many people came to America precisely because they can practise their faith openly," he says. "Secondly, these extensive religious communities compete with each other for members. It means more effort goes into recruiting and maintaining members."
There is also a kind of counterintuitive argument about why religion has flourished, according to Green. Because of the separation of church and state, churches have had to build extensive private organisational structures to push their interests and so have become strong within the society."

The Sydney Morning Herald, August 11, 2007

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